Breaking barriers between young people and police
Former IBF and WBA middleweight boxing champion Daniel Geale is helping Campbelltown police overcome relationship barriers with young people through boxing. The boxing and breakfast program is run out of our Koch Centre For Youth and gives young people the opportunity to interact with police while learning ‘the sweet science’.
Melody Chime is the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer for Campbelltown City Police Command and realised that there was a need to better connect young people with police in the area. She thought a fitness and healthy eating program might be a great opportunity to get police and young people together.
“We have two police officers involved in the program – our crime prevention officer Senior Constable David Blom and Sergeant Richie Simon our Education and Development Officer. The ideal situation is to get these young people to communicate effectively with the police rather than being scared or thinking we’re different,” she says.
Daniel Geale was brought into the program at the start of 2018 and knew exactly what boxing could do for these young people. He has seen everyone around him improve themselves due to boxing and thinks that young people can achieve what they want in life through the sport.
“I’ve been boxing since I was 9 years old. I’ve seen boxers in my stable achieve so much. Boxing gives people a lot of confidence, discipline and self-esteem. There are so many good aspects to boxing.” “I come from a working class area and a lot of people around me struggled. We didn’t have a lot, so we had to find ways to keep occupied and exert energy. A lot of my friends chose different paths, some of them chose the wrong path. Fortunately I had boxing and that kept me on track. It made me set goals for the future. I wanted to better myself and provide a better life for my family,” he said.
Bringing Daniel Geale on board was a great thing for the program. Taking on world champion quality boxers meant that there were no easy fights. He always had a very big obstacle in front of him and that’s a lesson he is passing on to the young people.
“Fighting the best that boxing had to offer at the time brought out the best in me – I never ducked anyone in my career or took an easy path. I had a great team behind me, which is really important, not just in boxing but in life as well. If you have the right people behind you they’re going to help steer you in the right direction.”
One of our youth workers Joshua Nimmo-Mestre travels around Macquarie Fields in the morning, collecting the program participants. It can get tough waking them up so early – especially in winter – but he says it is all worth it when you see the smile on their face at the end of the session.
“Some kids are ready to go in the morning and others struggle with the early wake up. We try and keep building the habit, getting them to training and hopefully they will keep turning up. At the end of class, they’re happy that they’ve achieved something, had something to eat and have socialised with their peers. You can see that they’re set up for success that day,” he said.
“Boxing provides discipline but it’s also about overcoming a challenge in the morning. Boxing isn’t easy, and they have a sense of accomplishment after the session and it sets a good mindset for the rest of the day. No matter what the day throws at them, they’ll be able to handle it,” says Joshua Nimmo-Mestre.
“I’d love to see the program grow. We’ve had a few talks about travelling around the area and expanding it. It’s all about helping as many young people as we can,” says Daniel Geale.